Princeton hires ex-player Mitch Henderson as coach

Mitch Henderson is coming back to Princeton to replace former

teammate Sydney Johnson as the Tigers’ basketball coach.

This will be the first head coaching job for Henderson, who

spent the past 11 seasons as an assistant at Northwestern under

Bill Carmody, another former Princeton coach.

Henderson, who helped Princeton reach the NCAA tournament three

times in the late 1990s, will take over a team that shared the Ivy

League regular-season title and nearly upset Final Four-bound

Kentucky in the first round of this year’s tournament.

The Tigers reached the tournament on a last-second basket by

Douglas Davis in a one-game playoff with Harvard. Johnson left

Princeton earlier this month to take the coaching job at

Fairfield.

”I’ve never stopped being a fan since I’ve graduated,”

Henderson said. ”When Doug’s shot went through the net, I jumped

off my couch, I was so happy. I was excited for Sydney and his

staff, and for the team. I feel like I know our guys already.”

Athletic director Gary Walters said working at Northwestern

prepared Henderson because both schools were committed to

developing both the athlete and the student.

”This is an exciting segue in the great tradition of Princeton

basketball,” Walters said. ”We look forward to the future with a

heightened sense of anticipation and excitement. Mitch played on

some of Princeton’s best teams with passion, energy and integrity,

values that also reflect his approach to coaching.”

A 1998 graduate, Henderson has long been a part of Princeton

basketball lore. A picture of him leaping to celebrate the Tigers’

1996 first-round win over UCLA is one of the most well-known in

Princeton basketball history.

The point guard also celebrated a first-round NCAA win over UNLV

in 1998, a season in which Princeton (27-2) was ranked as high as

seventh and earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Since graduating, Henderson played part of the 1998-99 season in

Ireland and was with the Atlanta Hawks in January 1999 before

joining the Lendx Corporation of San Francisco as a research

associate.

Henderson joined Northwestern in 2000 to work for Carmody, his

coach for his final two seasons. Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril

coached Henderson in his first two seasons.

”I’m so excited about the opportunity to coach here,”

Henderson said. ”I’m eager to get going with growing on what

Sydney has been able to do here the last four years.”